Chapters

Paul Anka - Lonely Boy. Third million seller for Paul. Followed by Put Your Head On My Shoulder.

Frankie Avalon - Venus. Second million seller for Avalon which was followed by his third and fourth; Just Ask Your Heart and Why. The latter of these was subject to litigation after it was claimed to be similar to another song. The claim was denied by the court.

LaVern Baker - I Cried A Tear. Third million seller for Baker.

Chris Barber and his Jazz Band - Petite Fleur (Little Flower). Only million seller for jazz trombonist Barber who was born on 17th April 1930 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. His was the first British band to be televised live in the USA on the 'Ed Sullivan Show'. Although taken from his album 'Chris Barber Plays, Vol 3' Barber didn't actually play on this track at all -the clarinet solo was by Monty Sunshine.

Brook Benton - It's Just A Matter Of Time b/w So Many Ways. First million seller for the star whose real name was Benjamin Franklin Peay.

Edd Byrnes and Connie Stevens - Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb. Sole million seller for the duo recreating their characters from the hit U.S. TV show '77 Sunset Strip'.

Freddy Cannon - Tallahassie Lassie. First million seller for Freddy Picariello from Lynn, Massachusetts. He followed this gold disc with another; Way Down Yonder In New Orleans.
 
Ray Charles - What'd I Say (Parts 1 and 2). The first million seller for Ray Charles Robinson born in Albany, Georgia on 23 September 1932. Ray lost his sight at the age of six and was orphaned at 15. At 17 he formed his own trio (in which he played piano) that toured the USA before he settled down for a while in Seattle. Here he played piano in a style very similar to Nat 'King' Cole and it proved popular enough to land him his own (local) TV show. But he was uncomfortable with the type of music he was playing and eventually adopted the style that would propel him to huge success and worldwide acclaim. He began singing and playing a mixture of rhythm and blues, jazz and gospel -or as it became known- soul music. He signed for Atlantic Records and soon rose to legendary status. One of the most respected musicians in the music industry he was also accomplished on the alto sax, clarinet and organ and was one of the few black singers to have a big hit in country-and-western music. He earned the tag of 'The Genius' and it was well-deserved. Ray died following a period of ill-health in 2004.

The Coasters - Charlie Brown. Third million seller for this group was quickly followed by their fourth gold platter; Poison Ivy -once again both hits were Leiber and Stoller compositions.

Russ Conway - Side Saddle. Trevor H. Stanford was born on 2 September 1927 in Bristol and entered showbusiness at the age of ten playing in an accordion band. However, after leaving school he joined the Merchant Navy as a galley boy for two years and then became a signalman in the Royal Navy for a further three. An accident in the Navy cost him the first joint of the third finger of his right hand, however this didn't deter him from re-signing for a further two years and winning the Distinguished Service Medal. An accomplished musician and able to play several instruments (all self-taught) Russ was heard playing in a band in 1957 and this led to him being signed by EMI. 'Side Saddle', which he played on the piano, was his own composition.

Bobby Darin - Dream Lover. Third million seller for Darin was another self penned composition but his next gold disc Mack The Knife, had been around a lot longer, originating from Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill's 'Threepenny Opera'.

Tommy Dee and Carol Kay - Three Stars. Dee, who wrote this song as a tribute to Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper, was a country-and-western DJ.

Dion and the Belmonts - Teenager In Love. First million seller for this quartet led by Dion Di Mucci, born 18 July 1939 in The Bronx. He started singing at the age of five and made his first TV appearance in 1954. The Belmonts were created by his record label, Mohawk, and they were; Fred Milano (second tenor), Carlo Mastangelo (baritone), and Angelo d'Aelo (first tenor). They stayed together until 1960 at which time Dion went solo before taking up a stage career in 1963.
Carl Dobkins - My Heart Is An Open Book. Only million seller for this Cincinnati born singer.

Fats Domino - Be My Guest. 22nd million seller for Fats.

Lonnie Donegan - Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavour? (On The Bed-Post Every Night). Written in 1924 by Billy Rose and Marty Bloom and discovered by Donegan in an old Boy Scouts song book. He altered the title slightly from 'Does Your Spearmint Lose It's Flavour on the Bed Post Over Night?' to avoid any tradename conflicts.

Dicky Doo and the Dont's - Tear Drops Will Fall. They did achieve gold for this single. They didn't for any other.

The Drifters - There Goes My Baby. Second million seller for this group who over the years have had many line-up changes. The original lead singer, Clyde McPhatter had now left and the group were made up of Ben E. King, Elsberry Hobbs, Doc Green Jr., Charlie Thomas and Reggie Kimber. King (real name Beanjamin Earl Sloman) left the group in 1960.

Paul Evans and the Curls - Seven Little Girls (Sitting In The Back Seat). What were they doing there? Well, according to the song they were hugging and kissing with Fred. This was the era of the novelty song and comedy ditty and this U.S. example sold a million copies.

Everly Brothers - Take A Message To Mary. Sixth million seller for the brothers, which was followed by ('Til) I Kissed You

Fabian - Tiger. Only million seller for Fabian.

The Falcons - You're So Fine. Top Detroit group consisting of Eddie Floyd, Mack Rice, Lance Finney, Willie Schofield, Bob West and Joe Stubbs (brother of Levi Stubbs of Four Tops fame). The group later included Wilson Pickett. This was their only million seller.

The Fleetwoods - Come Softly To Me. First million seller for this trio playing their own composition. They followed it with Mister Blue.

Emile Ford and The Checkmates - What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For? Only million seller for Ford who sailed to Britain with his family from Nassau, in the Bahamas. He learned to play the guitar at school and later graduated from Paddington Technical College. He was signed by Pye Records after winning a talent contest at Soho Fair. The Checkmates included his three brothers.

Frankie Ford - Sea Cruise. Only million seller for this artist.

Connie Francis - My Happiness. Third million seller for Connie followed by one of her best remembered hits Lipstick On Your Collar b/w Frankie. Her fifth million seller released in 1959 was Among My Souvenirs, which also sold a million in sheet music when it was first published in 1927.

Willie Harrison - Kansas City. Only million seller for this artist. A classic song written by Leiber and Stoller and covered by The Beatles on 'Beatles For Sale'.

Johnny Horton - Battle Of New Orleans. The top country-and-western disc of 1959 by Texas born Horton who had gone to university and majored in petroleum engineering. At uni he began writing and won a talent contest and later became the star of 'Louisiana Hayride' the top country-and-western show. He was killed in a car crash on November 5 1960.

The Impalas - Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home). Only gold record for this rock n' roll group.

The Isley Brothers - Shout. The Isley Brothers wrote this song after they were performing 'Lonely Teardrops' live at the Howard Theatre in Washington D.C. and their lead singer, purely on the spur of the moment, yelled at the audience 'You know, you make me want to shout!' The remark so excited the audience that pandemonium ensued. RCA promotion's representative Howard Argie Bloom soon after ushered the group into a studio and with the lead-in line, the brothers wrote the rest of the song which went on to sell in excess of a million copies. It proved a smash hit for Lulu in the 1960s and was the record that set her of on the road to a hugely successful career.

Stonewall Jackson - Waterloo. Only million seller for Jackson.

Johnny and the Hurricanes - Red River Rock. Only million seller for this rock n' roll instrumental group was this 'beat' version of a classic American cowboy song, 'Red River Valley'.

Marv Johnson - You Got What It Takes. Marv Johnson was born on 15 October 1938 in Detroit, Michigan. At 13 he formed his own group 'The Serenaders' and was discovered in 1959 by Berry Gordy Jr. who wrote Johnson's first release, 'Come to Me' -the first Tamla Records release. Although Tamla was not a label, Gordy got United Artists to release the song, as was the case with 'You Got What It Takes'. This was the start of Tamla-Motown.

Jerry Keller - Here Comes Summer. Jerry's only million seller, which he wrote himself.

Wink Martindale - Deck Of Cards. Only million seller for Martindale who later became a game-show host on national TV in the USA.

Johnny Mathis - Misty. Fifth million seller for Mathis was a version of this classic jazz number introduced as an instrumental in 1954 by Eroll Gardner.

Guy Mitchell - Heartaches By The Number. Sixth million seller for Mitchell.

Ricky Nelson - Never Be Anyone Else But You b/w It's Late. Seventh million seller for Nelson. His eighth was Just A little Too Much.

Sandy Nelson - Teen Beat. First million seller for drummer Nelson.

Phil Phillips - Sea Of Love. Only million seller for Phillips.

Elvis Presley - A Fool Such As I b/w I Need Your Love Tonight. 23rd million seller for Elvis. His 24th was A Big Hunk O' Love b/w My Wish Came True.

Lloyd Price - Stagerlee. Price had heard an old American folk song called 'The Ballad of Stack-O-Lee' and with Harold Logan rewrote it in modern style. The song is the story of two gamblers who meet a tragic end. Not so for Price, who had two more million sellers released in this year; I'm Gonna Get Married and Personality.

Marvin Rainwater - My Love Is Real. Third million seller for Marvin, followed by My Brand Of Blues and Half Breed.

Della Reese - Don't You Know. Dellareese Taliaferro was born in Detroit on 6 July 1932 and sang, at 6 years of age, in the same gospel group as the great Mahalia Jackson. This was her only million seller.

Jim Reeves - He'll Have To Go. Fourth million seller for Reeves.

Cliff Richard and The Drifters - Living Doll. First million seller for the Britain's top recording artist of all time bar none. The song was written by Lionel Bart, who later wrote the musical 'Oliver!'. Born on 14 October 1940 in Lucknow, India, Harry Webb was educated in Carshalton and later in Hertfordshire. After leaving school he became an office clerk and learned to play guitar before making his first public appearance with a vocal group called The Drifters. The group became very popular locally and later appeared at the '2 I's' coffee club in Soho where Webb, now named Cliff Richard, met Jet Harris, Tony Meehan, Bruce Welch and Hank Marvin all of whom became part of The Drifters. In 1958 the group were spotted by agent George Canjou at the Shepherd's Bush Gaumont theatre and invited them for a recording audition. Cliff's first disc was 'Move It' and he soon found himself being billed as the 'English Elvis Presley'. He quickly shook off this tag and went on to be one of the most famous performers in the world, having a number one hit in every decade from the 1950s to the 1990s. The Drifters changed their name to The Shadows to avoid confusion with the US group with the same name and although always associated with Cliff, they have had a string of instrumental hits in their own right.

Marty Robins - El Paso. Second million seller for Robins. The song won a Grammy Award for 'Best Country and Western Performance' 1960.

Bobby Rydell - We Got Love. First million seller for the singer born Robert Louis Ridarelli, who came from Philadelphia where he went to the same boys club as Fabian and Frankie Avalon. Like his friends, Rydell presented a clean-cut image in stark contrast to the earlier pioneers of rock n' roll. He followed this gold record with another; the double-a sided Wild One and Little Bitty Girl.

Santo and Johnny - Sleep Walk. Only gold record for the brothers Farina.

Neil Sedaka - I Go Ape. The title was 1950s teenage slang for going wild, crazy or losing your head and it presented Sedaka, born on 13 March 1939 with the first of many gold discs. Born in Brooklyn of Turkish decent, Neil Sedaka wanted to be a concert pianist. At school he illustrated a flair for writing pop songs and after graduating from the famous Julliard School of Music he was chosen by Arthur Rubenstein to play on radio. Collaborating with neighbour Howard Greenfield he built up a repertoire of pop songs which were recorded by the likes of Connie Francis, LaVern Baker and Clyde McPhatter. In 1958 he made his own recording and took it to a publishers who sent the demo disc to RCA Victor's Steve Sholes, the man who snapped up Elvis Presley from Sun Records. Sedaka was immediately signed up to a contract and by the time 'I Go Ape' was released in 1959 Sedaka had composed nearly 400 songs (many with Greenfield). In 1961 the duo wrote the score for the MGM musical 'Where The Boys Are'. In front of the microphone or behind it, Neil Sedaka is one of the greatest talents in the pop music industry, turning out hit after hit in a career that has spanned 6 decades. His second million seller released in 1959 is one of many that he will always be associated with: Oh Carol!.

David Seville and The Chipmunks - Alvin's Harmonica. David Seville's Chipmunks were now big enough to get equal billing on this comedy record which was Seville's third million seller. There was more gold in 'them thar hills' before the year was out when a song, originally written in 1912, was given the Seville treatment; Ragtime Cowboy Joe.

Harry Simeone Chorale - Little Drummer Boy. Written by Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati and Katherine Davis in 1958 and taken from the tune of a Spanish song 'Tabolilleros', this religious song tells the story of a poor boy who can't afford to bring a gift to the Nativity, except for his drum. By 1970 the 150 plus different versions of 'Little Drummer Boy' had sold over 25 million copies worldwide.

Nina Simone - I Loves You Porgy. Only million seller for the modern jazz vocalist born Eunice Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina. Taken from the Gershwin musical 'Porgy and Bess'.

Cyril Stapleton and his Orchestra - Children's Marching Song. More commonly known as 'This Old Man' or 'Nick Nack Paddy Whack' the original words and music of which were adapted for the movie 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness' about English missionary Gladys Aylward (played by Ingrid Bergman), who took a band of orphans to safety over rugged terrain during the Japanese invasion of China before World War II.

Barrett Strong - Money (That's What I Want). Born on 5 February 1941, Strong joined the Berry Gordy disc company soon after it was formed in 1959 and recorded this song, written by Gordy and Janie Bradford, which then became the first million seller for the new independent label, Motown Records and it's affiliates. 'Money' was the first song that had the distinctive Motown sound which, within a few short years would dominate the US charts.

Sarah Vaughan - Broken Hearted Melody. First million seller for Sarah, born on 27 March 1924 in Newark, New Jersey. She began singing in a child choir before winning a music contest at New York's Apollo Theatre. Her prize was a week's engagement with Earl Hines band, but that week became a permanent job and whilst there she met and began performing with Billy Ekstine. When Ekstine formed his own orchestra, Sarah joined him as vocalist. Over the years she played with all the jazz greats, and recorded some of the most memorable jazz songs ever recorded.

Jerry Wallace - Primrose Lane. Only million seller for Kansas born Wallace.

Thomas Wayne - Tragedy. Only million seller for this artist.

Andy Williams - Hawaiian Wedding Song. Andy's second million seller.

Jackie Wilson - Lonely Teardrops. First million seller for Jackie. Written by Berry Gordy Jr., Gwen Gordy and Tyran Carlo in 1958. Berry Gordy Jr. was a former auto-assembly worker in Detroit who started his own record label, Gordy Records, in 1959 with a loan of $800.00. He went on to become the biggest independent producer of 45 r.p.m. discs in America, introducing to the world the 'Motown Sound' (Motown was made up of the words 'motor town' as Detroit was the major car manufacturing city of the USA). Jackie "Sonny" Wilson was born June 9 1934 in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in Highland Park, Michigan. The only child of Jack and Eliza Mae Wilson from Columbus, Mississippi. Eliza Mae, who had earlier lost two children, doted on Wilson and was a powerful influence on his life. Wilson turned to music after his mother made him give up a promising career as a boxer (he was a welterweight champion at 16 years of age, having lied about his age), and in 1953 joined Billy Ward's Dominoes as lead singer. In 1957 he went solo and was soon signed by Brunswick Records. Top nightclub, theatre and TV appearances followed. In 1961 Wilson became involved with Harlean Harris, a former girlfriend of Sam Cooke whilst at the same time he was having a relationship with a Juanita Jones. On February 15 1961, Jones shot Wilson twice as he returned with Harris to his Manhattan apartment. Wilson survived this attempt on his life but lost a kidney as a result. In September 1970 Wilson's oldest son, 16-year-old Jackie Jr., was shot and killed during a confrontation on the porch of a Detroit neighbours' home. Jackie Wilson himself died on January 21, 1984, aged 49.

Link Wray and his Ray Men - Rawhide. Second instrumental million selling disc for this group.